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Sun drenched Sicily - Suggested Self-Drive

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Sun drenched Sicily 
In Italy the freewheeling experience becomes more challenging with driving on the right hand side of the road. Don’t be put off, roads and autobahns are well surfaced and clearly signposted. Most major roads do have tolls so it is often cheaper and more scenic to stay on the secondary roads. Beautiful Sicily is a treasure trove of Roman and Greek ruins, medieval villages, incredible architecture and dramatic landscape. Just as dramatic is the long, complicated history – the mafia originated here, the Romans ruled, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans - all make for a truly unique culture.

Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: Palermo – Monreale – Palermo
Palermo’s old town has a 3000 year old history. The slightly chaotic streets show the architectural marks of the many invaders. Drive past olive groves and citrus orchards to Monreale.

Day 2: Palermo – Cefalù – Nebrodi Park – Taormina (252km)
Drive along the coast to the former fishing village of Cefalù. Randazzo is the closest village to Europe’s most active volcano Mt Etna, with the volcanic lava rock used in much of its construction.

Day 3: Taormina – Mt Etna
Built high on the cliffs with restored medieval treasures, and views across to Etna and lovely cove-like beaches which you can reach by cable car.

Day 4: Taormina – Catania – Syracuse (122km)
Visit the UNESCO listed historical centre of Catania. In Syracuse you’ll find most of the main archaeological sites in the old town on Ortigia Island.

Day 5: Syracuse – Noto – Ragusa – Caltagirone (150km)
The south east landscape is rough and dramatic with mountains and ravines. Noto sits peacefully amongst them as Baroque architecture in honey coloured stone. Ragusa cascades down the slope of the hills.

Day 6: Caltagirone – Piazza Armerina – Agrigento (128km)
Ceramics decorate walls, streets and stairways of Caltagirone. Visit Piazza Armerina’s Villa Romana del Casale, a ruined villa filled with incredible Roman mosaics.

Day 7: Agrigento – Marsala – Trapani (166km)
Visit the UNESCO listed ‘Valley of the Temples’ and the seaside town of Marsala on the drive to Trapani, see functioning salt windmills.

Day 8: Trapani – Erice – Palermo (124km)
The narrow winding streets of Erice have hardly changed since 600 BC.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
Wander through the Ballaro Market in Palermo – A souk-like market with Moorish influences, it is vibrant. Everything is fresh and it is one of the best places to eat.
Admire the mosaics in Monreale – The famous cathedral is an extensive Arab-Norman complex with Byzantine mosaic and a Benedictine cloister.
Cross one of three bridges to Ortigia – The best way to see this island is to just wander around the 2500 years of history, past Baroque and medieval palaces, churches and the 6th century BC Temple of Apollo.
Enjoy the best gelato as you stroll down the promenade of Noto – Palms and Baroque palaces and churches line the grand Corso Vittorio Emanuele and there are beautiful gardens to rest in.
Try chocolate made in the Aztec style – Modica is famous for its chocolate shops. It is one of the Val di Noto eight UNESCO listed towns, explore the zig-zag of streets and steep staircases. The 1693 earthquake forced the townsfolk out of their cave dwellings, and into building their own town around the castle fortress.
Agrigento – One of the best preserved architectural legacies of ancient Greece, the Doric temples in the ruins of Akragras, known as the Valley of the Temples, were built around 450 BC.
Sample an authentic Marsala wine – This dessert wine is dry and flavoursome with no added sugar. Try it at any of the wine cellars.

Our favourite places to stay:
• Mercure Palermo Centro, Palermo
• Excelsior Palace Hotel, Taormina
• Colleverde Park Hotel, Agrigento
• Hotel Cala Marina, Trapani

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a compact size car for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.

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